"Then I will not intrude any longer. I shall place one of my men in front of the house and one behind, and if he comes home his arrest will be managed quietly, and we will not bring him in here at all. It will save a painful scene."
"It is as you say, Victor," one of the other veterans said, "and it is all the better. It would be too bad if we had to march right across Europe and back without firing a shot, but I, who know the Russians too, feel sure that that will never be."
"So he did not take it well," one of the subalterns said. "That is just what you would expect from a fellow like that."
"It is exactly what we thought, Aunt. Julian was seized by smugglers, and has been taken over to France, and I am afraid it will be some time before he gets back again, especially as he believes that this charge is hanging over him. I won't read you the letter now, but to-morrow when you are strong enough you shall read it yourself. I must take it the first thing in the morning to Colonel Chambers, who will, I am sure, be very glad to hear that Julian is safe, for I know that he thinks he was shot by the man he pursued. He will be interested, too, and so will Mr. Henderson, at seeing how exactly we were right in the conclusions we arrived at."
"I have talked it over with Mr. Wyatt," he went on when they had returned to the sitting-room; "he will probably require your services for a year, though possibly he may have to join his regiment sooner than that. He is willing to pay two pounds a week for your services as his instructor. Will that suit you?"
"I will try anyhow," he muttered to himself. He first ripped open one of the cushions, pulled out the woollen stuffing, and wrapped it round the child's arms and legs, binding it there with strips of the velvet covering the cushions. Then he took off his cloak, and raised her on to his back, having first cut off one of the reins. With this he strapped her securely in that position, put on his warm cloak again, and then, hurrying forward, soon overtook the rear of his regiment.
"What port do you land at?" Julian asked Markham.
The boats started as soon as their cargoes were on board, and the work went on uninterruptedly for the next two hours, by which time the last keg was on shore, and the boats returned to the lugger. The men were in high spirits. The cargo had been a valuable one, and the whole had been got rid of without interruption. The boats were at once hoisted up, the anchor weighed, and the lugger made her way out to sea.
"You are too good altogether, Count," Julian said; but the Russian checked him with a peremptory gesture of his hand.